A wedding is a bride and groom’s special day.
With that in mind, they should be able to decide exactly how they want it to go, and have the final say in venue, catering, music, and in some cases, theme.
Which doesn’t mean that many members of the bride and groom’s families won’t offer their input, appreciated or not.
While others might have family members who don’t offer suggestions, but rather demands.
Redditor weddingofmy and their fiancée found themselves touched when several family members began donating money to go towards their big day.
But when it became clear that the money wasn’t exactly a gesture of pure generosity, the original poster (OP) and their fiancée made the decision to return it.
Something which their family didn’t appreciate one bit.
Wondering if they were in the wrong for doing so, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) where they asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for telling my family that if they gift us money for our wedding, there will be no ‘strings attached’ or we will politely decline it?”
The OP shared how they and their fiancé were initially touched by their family donating money towards their wedding, until some ulterior motives became apparent.
“I f*cking hate wedding culture.”
“My fiancé and I thought we would escape the bullshit and money by having a small thing.”
“Well, family started trying to throw money at us to make it bigger and more spectacular.”
“We were surprised, but it was a good surprise.”
“Then the demands started coming out.”
“They wanted this, they wanted that, they wanted this person to come, these colors, dresses can’t do this, this person has to be flower girl, this person HAS to be a groomsman, etc etc.”
“Suddenly it didn’t feel like our wedding, but an excuse for our families to have a family reunion.”
“We put our foot down and said:”
“‘Thank you all for your kindness and generosity when it comes to our wedding’.”
“‘Unfortunately, it looks like we may not have been on the same page as the rest of you’.”
“‘When we were offered money for this wedding, we did not realize it came with strings attached’.”
“‘With so many requests and so many demands from people we didn’t expect would think they had a say in our wedding, we have decided to give everyone their money back’.”
“‘Our understanding of what a gift is must be very different’.”
“‘If you would like to give us money without strings attached or requests or demands, we will gracefully accept it’.”
“‘But if you believe a gift should come with stipulations, we must regretfully, and politely decline’.”
“This has caused an epic sh*tstorm.”
“Such to the point where I have people saying they will never come to our wedding.”
“Honestly, not the worse thing in the world.”
“That we are spoiled, we’re a**holes, etc. etc. etc.”
“My parents are rather upset about it, but hers, who never made any demands and gave us a small cash gift, said we did the right thing.”
“We are halfway to canceling the whole party and just absconding into the wilderness to do the wedding the way we want.”
“AITA? (Are We?)”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
The Reddit community agreed that the OP and their fiancée were not the a**holes for returning the money to their families, or for only wanting it with no strings attached.
Everyone agreed that they only did the right thing by returning the money to their families, and that a gift, no matter what it is, should never come with stipulations.
“‘We’re spoiled because you cant get what you want at our wedding?'”- MakeAutomata
“My favorite part of the whole post?”
“The constant use of WE.”
“You and your Bride.”
“WE are choosing this.”
“WE have responded thus.”
“YOU are on the path to a wonderful partnership, off to the Wilderness with you and have a wonderful life together.”
“Obviously NTA.”- darthbreezy
“That’s how gifts work.”
“I vote ditch the whole ceremony and do a small destination wedding just the two-ish of you.”- Spike-Tail-Turtle
“That money was not a gift.”- HarmnMac
“A gift is a gift.”- regalbirdnerd
“Weddings and funerals are when you learn who your true fam is.”- swiss-mike
“And I just laughed long and hard at your letter to everyone.”
“It’s your wedding and they want to dictate colors?”
“They don’t care about your wedding, they care about fulfilling some fantasy in their heads about their perfect wedding.”- C6H11CN
“Too much drama, run away, get married quietly and live happily ever after.”
“You are my heroes.”- Gonebabythoughts
“People should not feel entitled to tell you how your wedding should be.”- Here4daT
“I fear that weddings have gone from being a celebration of the beginning of a life together to an ‘everyone cater to my every whim and make me queen for a day and idk, may divorce later’.”
“OP, not referencing your wedding in particular, your circumstances are your own and if a reasonable representation of your family, you’re NTA.”
“I’ve just been reading so much on AITA about wedding drama.”
“The reason many parents want to invite people is because we are supposed to celebrate one another’s achievements and blessings.”
“’Back in my day’ my family attended weddings, which always included children, of cousins and neighbors’ children, kids of coworkers, etc.”
“Good friends and family participated in other families’ events, kids’ birthday parties, engagement parties, and watched kids grow from first steps to high school graduation, college sometimes and into married life to repeat the cycle.”
“Weddings took place in the local parish and receptions in an attached party hall or even someone’s home.”
“Now, perhaps because people move farther away and more often, kids are more independent, parents already spending so much on college that they can’t foot the whole bill, etc , couples are paying for their own weddings and it’s morphing into a ‘this is our grand gala’ instead of a contemplation of a life together.”
“Moms and dads want to celebrate with their friends, too.”
“Raising kids is a long and stressful ride and marrying that child off to their forever mate signals a sense of, ‘Phew! We did it! We can rest easy while they ride off into the sunset with one another to help them navigate the waters from here on’.”
“It really does take a village.”
“Guests are not supposed to be so grateful they were even invited that they give a gift of a value equal or greater to the cost of their dinner, the bride and groom are supposed to circulate at the reception and graciously thank the guests for sharing in their joy.”
“Wedding parties are supposed to be made up of the loved ones who helped the little girl and little boy grow into that kind of adult that would make a loving spouse, not the ‘pretty enough but not prettier than the bride’ girls that they’ve known for a year or so and have to cut their hair, pay $250 for their makeup session and are rich enough to throw some destination hen party extravaganza.”
“I vote for more elopements and more 20-year anniversary parties, where there’s no question anymore if it’s forever and a pretty dress that doesn’t cost $20k.”
“I know, I’m kind of old and not too woke but I want my kids to know that the person they’ve chosen is the person with which they dream of growing old and if it’s done in a courtroom, a Vegas chapel or Westminster Abbey, that it’s forever.”- PattyLeeTX
“NTA at all.”
“A gift is a gift, and in general, there should be no strings attached, no conditions, otherwise it isn’t really a gift, instead it then becomes more of an exchange.”
“Here’s this for you, now do this and this for me.”
“Also, it isn’t their wedding, its for you and your partner, your idea on eloping might be the best way to go forward if it continues to be an epic sh*tstorm.”- Chewy52
There were a few, however, who agreed that the OP was right to return the money, their response to their family could have been more mature, as perhaps some people were indeed only trying to help.
“On the one hand, I definitely don’t think you’re an a**hole for not wanting other people to decide on the details of your wedding.”
“I totally agree that a wedding belongs to the 2 people getting married, and nobody else’s feelings should really matter that much, if at all.”
“And gifts certainly shouldn’t come with stipulations.”
“So we’re on the same page with much of the main issue here.”
“Where my opinion differs from most people here is that I think the message comes off as an immature attempt at being pompous.”
“It reads like a kid trying to act in a way that they view as mature.”
“There’s nothing wrong with simply returning the money to the people who gave it, thanking them, and explaining that you simply don’t want that type of wedding.”
“A message like the one you sent kind of puts everyone on blast, and I really, really doubt that every single person who gave or offered money did so with the same exact intentions.”
“I can’t imagine there was such a large amount of people who wanted to offer you money that you couldn’t address them all individually.”
“I guess I just have a difficult time believing that you had a large number of people all offer you money towards your wedding while expecting to make decisions in return, and that all of these people did so with selfish intentions.”
“If that IS the case, then damn, you got some family.”
“But realistically, I feel like there are a couple of people here who genuinely love you, wanted to help you and only tried to involve themselves because they legitimately felt it would help you and your spouse have a better wedding.”
“I believe those people deserved a personal conversation where you thank them for their contribution but decline it.”
“Maybe that’s just me though.”
“I definitely don’t think you’re the asshole overall, just maybe mildly harsh in your handling of it.”
“Either way, good luck/congrats on your wedding, I hope everything works out for you and your spouse.”- NYIJY22
Perhaps the OP’s parents and family were under the impression that if they paid for the wedding, it would be exactly what they wanted.
If that was what they were thinking, however, then they should have offered that to the OP and their fiancé point blank, rather than under the guise of a donation.
In any event, the OP and their fiancé would still likely have said, very politely, “no”, as is their right.